Home  »  Volume XVII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II  »  § 11. Edward Everett Hale; The Man Without a Country

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XIII. Later Essayists

§ 11. Edward Everett Hale; The Man Without a Country

Probably the most immediately successful exponent of practical optimism in the Cambridge group was Edward Everett Hale (1822–1909), Higginson’s senior by but a year, and like Higginson a clergyman and one of the Overseers of Harvard University. There is a pleasant logic in the fact that this grand-nephew of the Revolutionary patriot whose only regret, as he mounted the scaffold, was that he had but one life to lose for his country, should have written a tale that, despite the startling improbability of its plot, is, in its stirring presentation of the value of patriotism, a masterpiece of our literature. But while the fame of Edward Everett Hale would be assured if he had done nothing further than to write, during the Civil War times, The Man Without a Country, let it not be forgotten that his volume published in 1870, entitled Ten Times One is Ten, led to the establishment of philanthropic societies the world over, the nature of whose charitable activities is suggested in their motto: “Look up and not down; look forward and not back; look out and not in; lend a hand.” Hale’s magazine with the final phrase of the preceding motto as its title was a journal of progress and a record of charity, wherein were continued those ideas of liberal Christianity that underlie an earlier publication, Old and New, which he had founded in 1869. To both he contributed many papers, while articles on historical and literary themes came frequently from his pen, in addition to many stories of discovery and adventure, of invention, of war, and of the sea. In his recently published letters there is further disclosure of his mental fertility and of his kind and practical Christianity; although his style is simple to the point of bareness, and the ordinary literary graces are absent.